Man City usher in dawn of ‘half a decade of dominance’ in Europe

Date published: Saturday 8th August 2020 10:08

Also... Pogba deserves an apology, Arsenal hysteria and Bale encouragement.

Keep them coming to theeditor@football365.com.

 

Pogb’apology
Maybe it’s just me but I feel Paul Pogba deserves an apology for the unnecessary sh*te that’s been thrown at him since he joined Man Utd. From Graeme Sourness listing his 101 things he hates about Pogba on a weekly basis or the media and other “pundits” crying about why he got a haircut or why he’s dancing at his brother’s wedding. How dare he enjoy a huge family occasion. Shoutout to Mourinho for sucking the life out of that damn “virus” and the entirety ofManchester United F.C. ® .

Pogba deserved some criticism too no doubt about it and his outspoken agent doesn’t seem to make things any better, but the pettiness to point out every single flaw which didn’t really matter to both his game or his life outside of football was just irritating and a bit sad to watch.

At the end of it all the “virus” has come out of it strong and is still looked upon as an important part of the team.

I mean we live in a world where a player like Ozil who hasn’t been arsed for years is rewarded with a crisp 350k PW while he wonders when he can livestream his next game of Fortnite.

Or currently even Bale (350k PW), who told his manager to his face he isn’t going to play. I guess he prefers spending time under the hot madrid sun playing rounds of golf. To his credit his move to another club was blocked so can’t fully blame him on that one.

Point being a lot of energy is being directed at players like Pogba who don’t really deserve it cause it either too petty or just lazy punditry. Obviously some type of narrative has to be created by media and pundits for shock-value and to keep the viewership numbers up, but at the end of the day it’s a club’s fans who know their players best having to watch them week in week out.

I’m sure some of my opinions are flawed so some constructive criticism is always welcome.

Have a Good Weekend,
PS, Nairobi.

 

Half a decade of dominance
Manchester City completely dominated Real Madrid.

The second best team in England were vastly superior to the champions of Spain.

The seventh best team in France knocked out the champions of Italy.

Noone but cheat code clubs and Liverpool and United will have any money for the next couple of seasons.

I’m telling you, another half decade of English dominance in Europe is coming.

I’d also like to say that the studio pundits for BT – Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott with Gary Lineker –  were superb, as were the commentary team of Darren Fletcher and Steve McManaman. I don’t think anyone does it better than BT currently.

All around good stuff!

R rate is nearing 2 in areas of England by the way, so we’re all still going to die.
Tim Sutton


READ MORE: Manchester City come of age as they give Real no quarters


 

I was really looking forward to the Man City v Real Madrid clash last night, picked by local TV as the battle of the Belgians. However, as a contest it was finished in the 68th minute with Man City’s second goal. After that it looked like Real could have played another hour without ever troubling Ederson.

What struck me was the absolute naivety of Zidane’s men. Varane has had a nightmare but it stemmed from Real’s apparent expectation that they should be afforded lots of time on the ball. City’s front three pressed successfully because their opponents expected a sort of deference to their royal status rather than a scrap.
While it was pleasing that the ref didn’t fall for Manchester City’s play-acting, it was also significant that Real committed only three fouls -mainly because they couldn’t get near the Citizens.
And while you suggested they stick Casemiro on De Bruyne, no-one was seemingly doing that job, thereby letting him play delicious passes forward. It was as if they’d never seen him play before!
Hazard, meanwhile, had a very quiet game. I know he’s coming back from injury but he hardly got the ball. I’d have liked to see him play more centrally, just behind Benzema, and dribble through that central defence. If only Real Madrid had a player who could play wide on the left…
And finally, Zidane. I’ve never believed the “lucky manager” label as to win that much you have to be a bit good. Then again you realize how often Ronaldo saved this team from defeat and perhaps that papered over the cracks in Zidane’s game plan. Bad games can happen to anyone but this was woeful preparation.
Paul in Brussels (quite liked the absence of fake crowd noise) 

 

As a United fan, I would have probably enjoyed Madrid knocking City out last night. I think if Ramos played, it could have been very different and was quite surprised at the two mistakes Varane made, essentially leading to the goals City scored. But overall City did deserve the win. They pressed incredibly well over 90 mins and caught Madrid out several times. I think you could more or less see that Pep is now trying to form a ‘new’ Manchester City team. The fact that a young Phil Foden started ahead of both Bernardo Silva, David Silva & Mahrez goes to show he is placing a lot of faith in youth. Pep has now realized that the old guard is moving on and with David Silva leaving, Kompany having left last year and Aguero picking up more and more injuries, that a mix of experience and youth has to be introduced once again.

I will give a shoutout to one player in particular who I think City need to be starting from now on. Gabriel Jesus was once against the stand out performer in a European game for City. The fact that he is 23 years old and has scored 14 goals in 22 Champions League games for City goes to show he is World Class. 68 goals in 151 games for City, and considering he has come off the bench for a lot of those games proves his potential is great and I think he will start next year ahead of Aguero in most of the league games too. Big fan of Jesus and he has been very mature and patient at City and has taken his chance to impress Pep & his teammates with every big opportunity thrown at him.

If Pep can win the league again next year and prevent Liverpool from getting back to back titles, or even win the Champions League this year, you could argue that this would be his biggest achievement in football since the Barca days. I don’t think City will go all the way, their defense in my opinion is still quite fragile after the departure of Kompany. Think the Ake signing ia a good long-term signing, but perhaps not what they needed right now in order to challenge Liverpool next year.
Rami, London (Hazard needs to step up or go back to Chelsea, looks very average at the moment)

 

Of course if Man City do win the champions league there will have to be an asterisk beside their name. Definite asterisk!
Michael, Ireland

 

Irresponsible Sarri
Most will be mailing in today about City beating Real Madrid, or perhaps Lyon knocking out Juventus, but what stood out for me from the first round of Champions League return fixtures was the fact Pep Guardiola wore a jumper on what was the hottest day of the year so far, crazy stuff.

Felt sorry for Paulo Dybala, clearly not fit, yet was brought on by Sarri and lasted 14 minutes before he pulled up, hopefully it won’t be a huge set back, but you can’t ignore the fact that is incredibly poor and irresponsible management from Maurizio Sarri.
Mikey, CFC (Cristiano Ronaldo was incredible last night) 

 

Cheerleading subs
Watching the Juve Lyon game, it struck me just how loud and boisterous the other squad members were to try and get Juve over the line.

It got me thinking – why don’t we mandate the subs to be the official cheerleading for each game, singing songs and a bit of banter? Beats them sitting around pretending to socially distance and gives them a dual role to justify their salary.
The Big P, Vancouver

 

Happy United
Andrew, I’d certainly consider a very similar outcome next season satisfactory, if achieved slightly differently.

Consolidate a Champions League position rather than leave it late. Be in better contention for the league, be behind by less ideally but i don’t know any United fans who really expect us to compete to win it. Do well in the cup competitions, being in serious contention and ideally winning something. If, and with the teams still in it’s still an if, we win the Europa League this year that’d be 4 trophies in 5 years and most people should be happy with that. A pot next year would make it 4 or 5 in 6 years. That would be great.

So continuing progress in the areas that have improved recently would, for me, be enough. Transfers – do they continue to be good, both in and out? Football – do we continue to improve in terms of style and results? Culture – we are an easier team to like with hard working players fighting for each other and the shirt.

I’ve written in before about United fans being told for decades to stop being so arrogant and entitled, but then as soon as we stop winning and most of us act reasonably in terms of not just expecting things, all of a sudden it’s been everyone else telling us what’s acceptable and what we should expect, which is apparently always to win. As suggested by Mike D, we don’t really give a flying one about what other people think.

And that is in part a response to Dean, and others.

I’m, and judging from Mike’s email lots of other people are just bored of the conversation. There’s so many different ways to judge things that you and your particular definition mean nothing to me as a United fan. Ole has spent less on his defence than Jurgen has. He’s spent less on his midfield than Jurgen has. In fact, he’s spent less than Jurgen has full stop. He has spent less on his defence than Pep has spent on full backs alone.

This doesn’t mean that they are bad and he is good, it means that coming up with selective facts is pointless. Anyone can do it. Different managers over different time periods in different transfer markets with different requirements.

In fact, the way Ole has bought well while improving both playing style and players is one of the many reasons for cautious optimism.

So I do not feel that we need to win the league next year. Nor do I think Pep will have had a brilliant season if City don’t win the champions league (especially considering the amount of money he has been able to spend on his squad, as that seems so important to you) but i doubt he should be sacked if they lose out.

I’m happy as a United fan. I really want Ole to do well, and despite the bumps he has easily done enough to justify more time. Any fair minded review of the season shows that.

So you can all keep telling me what to think. Keep telling me what we should be doing and winning. Keep creating your own measurements to fit your particular views. It’s just that I don’t care as much about opinions of us as there are opinions on us. It’s just proving a saying United fans have be criticised for using. Hated, adored, never ignored.
Andreas Hunter, St Albans

 

Ole is the Manager and knows what he needs to make Utd a team that can challenge for the Title again. The backroom office staff should keep out of football. Who picks the team every week. Are we going to miss out on another great transfer thanks to themGo and play on your bloody office and let the Manager “MANAGE”
Dennis, Lanzarote

 

Closer to City & Pool in terms of points and head-to-head, above Chelsea & Arsenal, QF Champions League and good showings in both cups. Not losing games lamely, without fight. Drama – Entertain me.
Salty (MUFC)

 

YPOTY nonsense
That YPOTY list is utter nonsense. Aside from my intense personal bias (Saka should definitely be on it), Adama Traore was unstoppable this year (he has more successful dribbles than any player in the league other than Zaha has total dribbles) James Maddison was the best CM not called De Bruyne for large parts of the season and Allan St-Maxim was incredible to watch.

United having 3 seems excessive (it’s hard to argue any of them don’t deserve it, but imo Rashford and Martial are fine, with Greenwood an honourable consideration, since he came on very late in season and likely mainstay for future YPOTY) but Chelsea having Pulisic and Mount is silly (they were both good, but Mount wasn’t standout and Pulisic played 25 games). Henderson benefits more from the good story and the transfer hype (I still think he is very good obviously, but not sure he should be on the list).

Ideally it would be one player per team (it should be same with POTY too) but until then:

Traore, Rashford, TAA, Grealish, Maddison, Martial, Saka, ASM/Henderson.

Traore wins it clearly. He might be the most unplayable individual in the league (again not called De Bruyne).

Done.
Tom (didn’t mean to sound like the fans were the ones suffering most in my last Arsenal mail, obviously it’s the 55 redundancies who actually deserve sympathy) Walthamstow

 

Liverpool spectres
As a Liverpool fan I feel pretty good about life right now. But there is always spectres on the horizon to worry about is there not.

It sounds like City are looking to strengthen this summer. Two in already, one the new Ronaldo, 4 more to come, all perhaps resembling former great players in some manner, oh er missus.

Manu are looking to strengthen too by the sounds of it with that Sancho fella, looks well tasty him, Liverpool were after ‘im the papers said but no way we’ll spend that kind of money, cripes.

There’s more, Chelsea signed Timo Werner, who is amazing and plays everywhere and scores all the goals, Pulisic is the new Hazard but better some ex player said, golly gee whitakers, looks like they’ll be strengthening too, not to mention that Kai Havertz lad who is total amazeballs too the papers say.

What are we doing, arguing over some poxy substitute left back and 5 million. No strenthening at the pool I am afraid.

But my brain got to braining and thoughts got to thinking and I started wondering is this not what happens every year. Rich clubs strengthen every summer do they not. Yes players get older and move on but with all this strengthening should not these clubs be like super strong and stuff with their year on year strengthening and all that.

But there not. Every now and again a signing is the absolute business, a KBD, Sterling, Fernandes or Kante, but most signings are just grand really arent they? Maybe a bit better than the current incumbents maybe not. But without appropriate coaching, structures none of this strengthening that we obsess over every summer makes much of a difference at all it seems to be.

See Manu who have strengthened every summer since Fergie left, Everton who spent 130mil last year, Villa something similar nearly getting relegated etc etc.

Someone once wrote a great article on here about City saying who difficult it is to spend money really well, and its true.

The transfer merry-go-round is great fun but lets not get carried away either. Although it will never get mentioned it is the management team, staff, strategies, club culture, work on the training ground, dieticians, physios, psycholgists etc ultimately leading to player development that really strengthens a squad during the summer.

Boring I know but there you go.
Dave LFC

 

Arsenal hysteria
Seems to be a lot of hysteria around Arsenal’s decision to make 55 jobs redundant. Arsenal (and football) is a business. This decision is no different than main street or wall street or tech company laying people off. I assume the keyboard warriors would give up their Amazon prime membership if Amazon cuts jobs? Stop using Google and raise a hue and cry online if Google cut jobs?
But footballers get paid an extraordinary amount of money you say!
Again, that is no different than VP’s and Executives at any business having multi-million $$ pay packages with salaries, options, restricted stock units etc. In those cases as well, it is the rank and file who are made redundant.
Think of the football players and managers and 30 odd VP’s and SVP’s of a billion $$ business and then it does not sound so crazy does it?

This is the normal cost of doing business. Stop making a big deal about it
AD (Outraged by Outrages about Outrages about Outrages)

 

Dean A Ricci in this morning’s mailbox thinks people criticising the Arsenal ownership shouldn’t be “crying the blues and pointing the finger” and should be discussing any better ideas they have instead. Here are a few ideas:
– How about not being the only PL club to make their players take a wage cut to “protect jobs” and then wait until a few days after the end of the season to announce you’re cutting 55 jobs.
– How about not leaking to the press that your highest paid player (and two others whose identities are apparently irrelevant, because, you know, Ozil…) has refused the pay cut and conveniently leave out the part that the reason he did so was because he wanted assurances that the money would be used to protect jobs at the club and not save the billionaire owners money (and offered to take a bigger cut if those assurances were given).
– How about not persisting with a “Head of Football” who wanted to give a new contract to a manager who had just overseen a truly incredible end of season collapse and laughably bad performance in the Europa League final, to ensure that Arsenal didn’t qualify for the Champions League. I would point out how many jobs could’ve been saved by that CL money, but that would also be assuming that the extra revenue was properly managed and not just wasted on Kia Joorabchian and his clients.
– Speaking of, how about not persisting with a Head of Football who oversaw the spending of 5 million pounds (plus wages) for an injured RB (that wasn’t needed) in January who ended up not playing a minute until after he had been rewarded for his service with a new 4 year contract (which I’m sure had a nice signing bonus and also a nice fee for his agent, whoever that is. Oh wait, it’s our old friend Kia). Just that loan fee would have been enough to pay these 55 workers for 2 years. I won’t even get into the Denis Suarez circus.

– Also a Head of Football who was brought in for his ability to get deals done who then needed to call in the services of a super agent (and pay him a very handsome fee) who was not affiliated to Arsenal, Lille or Pepe to get that particular deal done, while his Lille counterpart was actually a former colleague .

– How about not being absent owners/majority shareholders for years while overseeing the biggest decline at the club in 3 decades, while also annually taking a few million in “consultancy fees” out of the club.
– And finally how about not “crying the blues” in a club statement saying you need to take income away from 55 families while the owner’s personal wealth has risen by $323 million between the start of the year and the beginning of May, up to a paltry $8.3 billion. Why not rather take some of the loose change out of your pocket and for the first time ever as either a majority shareholder and owner, do the compassionate thing, put some of your money into the club and help some of those families.

Just a couple of ideas there. Not sure if they’re any good though. I get that it’s a business and if it’s run poorly it will cease to be competitive. But it is being run poorly. It has been run poorly for at least 10 years. It is in the process of ceasing to be competitive having just achieved its lowest league finish in the last 25 years. The owners are responsible for that and if people are “pointing fingers” at them, then it seems to me they have every right to.
Rory, Cape Town (sorry for the rant)

 

Bale encouragement
I just wanted to reply to Ben regarding his comments on Gareth Bale as ‘a football fan from everywhere’.

I don’t have a problem with the way he’s behaving and in fact would actively encourage him to continue what he’s doing.

If a club wants to offer a contract for silly amounts to play, eventually agree to move the player on to a different club and then change their mind and make him stay and not play him, then try make him fly to another country just to sit on a bench without the prospect of playing then I’d feel quite comfortable accepting that he’s just going to count his money.

I’d never dream of endorsing the reasonably immoral sums that are bandied around but ultimately, Real can afford to pay him. The politics surrounding the scenario for me are irrelevant to him receiving his wages.

Whilst defending a multi millionaire for downing tools when employed to do a job most of us would do for a bag of Haribo and a hug from Klopp does make me feel a little queasy, this for me shows the idiocy of the way clubs run their business. He’s entitled to his wages and I absolutely do not feel sorry that Real Madrid will have to keep paying him.

I fully understand where you’re coming from, this isn’t a point I’m making to knock your opinion. It’s more a case that I feel differently from how you do. Cases like these could be more common than we know about. I’m reasonably confident in saying there’s likely a lot more murky dealings behind closed doors that have prevented players earning wages or moving clubs, Bale is just an incredibly talented, well (over)paid player, seemingly holding his club to ransom. The thing is, they all signed those papers.

In short, fuck ‘em.

Have a good weekend everyone, be nice.
Aron. Wakefield. 

 

Eric the King
As a United fan, may I (socially) distance myself from the unhinged missives that freely flow from William Douglas Foster? He cannot be for real. He must be a Liverpool fan in disguise. Only those of a scouse persuasion could possibly possess such levels of paranoia and chippiness.

Onto other matters, may I thank John Nic for the piece on Eric the King? Took me right back to the glory days of the ’90s and the birth of the modern Anyone But United movement! We became reviled, albeit not without reason. Cantona, Keane, Ince and of course Fergie were essentially the Nazis in Umbro. All complete Bastards, with a capital ‘B’, all brilliant and all born winners. Aided and abetted by our 12th man, of course, the man in the middle. In tribute, United even began to dress like a team of referees with that all-black Sharp Viewcam kit, made iconic by King Eric himself! Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.

Lordy, having read all that back, it reads a little like the words of an ABU. Better stop now, lest William Douglas Foster goes ahead and brands me an ABU, the ultimate insult…
Lee, ’90s child

 

$155!
I am a lifelong Spurs fan living in New York. I moved here from Ireland 5 years ago. I have used the club shop to buy kits and everything else dozens of times. Whats bothered me since I moved here is the premium pricing when shopping in dollars. The price goes up and up. Home shirt last season was $135. This year its $155!
A quick bit of research and Chelseas home shirt is $150. To buy the ‘stadium’ version of the shirt in $105 for chelsea and $105 for Spurs but only $88 on the Liverpool club shop!
All 3 are made by Nike. Are Liverpool just the decent club? Is there any other fans in the US who feels ripped off? Is this Levys doing to add to the transfer fund? Its admittedly a small problem but just doenst sit right with me.
Sean. New York. (Its the ugliest of the 3 too)

 

The best transfer window in history
I am not sure when or who but I seem to remember someone was talking about their team having the best transfer window in history recently (which i disagreed with at the time), well I think I may have just stumbled across the best transfer window in history…

Man utd 05/06
Van der Sar – £2 million
Park ji-sung – £4 million
Evra – £5.5 million
Vidic – £7million

I would leave it to a Man Utd fan to tell us how many trophies they won but I imagine it would be insane?
Tom, Tractor boy in Switzerland

 

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